..though the title would suggest me to follow through with my original plan and introduce you to the local night life, hip swinging, booty shaking, cocktail nipping and culinary degustation à la française, I will take another direction and get all serious, for there are times when politics are more important than dancing.
When applying for the position at AccèsBanque I associated Madagascar mostly with Baobabs and an ecstatic, pixar animated lemur, singing “I like to move it move it!”. Quite frankly, I was largely ignorant to the complex cultural and historical background..consequently I had totally skipped the 2002 crisis that had, already back in the days, stirred some wild uproar in the country.... But then I got the call! I’m in! – I got the job with LFS/AccèsBanque Madagascar and I would start climbing big trees to become a cute primate’ best friend by the beginning of August! Of course lil’ Leo was thrilled and got all excited (who wouldn't?) – the excitement however seemed to be quite in vogue at her future new home, too. To make a long – and complicated – story short: old regime, abuse of power, discontentment, riots, and coup d’état in the name of democracy… Result(s)? New leadership, the obligatory persecution of past-regime-supporters, a lot of commotion in the streets causing dozens of dead civilians, and the slightly skeptical question: democracy - where does it start..and even more important: where does it end?
You might understand that my dad was far from sharing the beforehand mentioned thrill lighthearted considering the prospect of seeing his darling daughtelidoo wander off and right into a political uprising. “We’ll see how the situation evolves, ok daddy? Sure thing I’ll be in the States for the next couple of months anyway and we’ll see how it goes from there…”
And indeed the situation seemed to calm down after the violent outbursts in March and April, all parties involved – i.e. the new head of state (a former DJ), the old president who had fled the country, and even the two generations that had preceded Ravalomanana in ruling the country – gathered around big table in Maputo, Mozambique, to find a solution under the vigilant eyes of the international community… ok, let me rephrase: to negotiate aka bargain over the terms of a transitional administration under the decreasingly vigilant eye of the international community – for WHO has heard about the outcome of this gathering? Well, in case your local news channel wasn’t all eyes and ears lately: the “Treaties of Maputo” (i.e. having a joint governance of the four main forces in the country until all preparations are made to hold the next democratic elections…in about 15 months) were violated almost instantaneously by young and dynamic Andry Rajoelina…totally understandable, isn’t it? I mean, what other options to handle the situation were left since after 2 days (!) no agreement could be found as to who should actually play president, prime minister, etc., then to take power into one’s own hands directly? What? don't tell me! - YOU could have come up with an alternative? Hm, too bad nobody told Angry then, wouldn't you agree?
Under the given circumstances however the summer heat that is slowly building was emphasized by a new wave of politically motivated protests and vandalism that left its mark in the city center. «Et c’est reparti, cela ne se calmera donc jamais» (And there we go again, it will thus never calm down) were allegedly the words of a young woman standing nearby when the windows started breaking again in Analakely. Be assured that I stayed away from any high-temperature site and spent a rather calm weekend at home..the bits and bites of information we get leave an open question though as to how the situation will evolve. For now it seems safe enough to stay here and should you not be looking for trouble most likely no harm is down to you. Still, I personally recommend to refrain from wandering around alone at night or from doing unnecessary shopping on the “Rue d’Indépendence”.
Ok folks, stay tuned for updates..I certainly will.
Here are some links that might give some insight – French will however be crucial for deciphering the content: